VISUAL NEWSLETTER – JUN 2005           




Companies around the world still run their businesses with the assistance of Legacy software. By definition, Legacy software is older software that was either Custom Written or Customized in some major way to make it work for a specific company. There are many reasons that such software is still in use even though the technology may be getting old.


1)    It still works and as the saying goes:    “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”


2)    Similar off the shelf up to date Windows based software is not available.


3)    Similar Windows software is inefficient requiring more people to do the same amount of data entry work.


4)    The cost to reprogram the software would be extremely high in the Windows programming marketplace.


5)    The software interfaces to older hardware technology that would be incompatible with newer software.


6)    Historical data cannot be converted to provide seamless financial reporting.


7)    Older workers that know the existing software may find it difficult to operate more complicated software.



Changing accounting software often causes a lot of disruptions for a period of months and sometimes years. When you combine this with cost factors which are often several times above initial estimates you can see why many companies are reluctant to change their accounting software. Data conversion and staff training on more complicated systems are additional problems that any conversion plan must overcome to be successful.




On the other hand there can be good reasons to replace older Legacy software. These factors may indicate conversion is necessary.


1)        The older software has begun to malfunction and cannot be repaired or reinstalled to solve the problem.


2)        Technical support for the product is no longer readily available.


3)        Staff that operates the software is retiring so new staff have to be retrained in either case.


4)        New software is now available that does everything the existing product does as well as providing new features that the company needs.


5)        The existing software will not run on newer versions of Windows limiting the availability of other software requiring Windows XP for example.




For many companies the ultimate solution to the replacement of a Legacy system with a newer Windows system is to develop a hybrid approach. In some cases this may lead to the replacement of certain core Accounting Modules while retaining several Legacy Modules and developing interfaces between the two systems. Interfaces almost always cost a mere fraction of the cost of total replacement of large custom systems. The side benefit is a system that you know works and you then have time to plan and test final conversions down the road if you feel they are necessary. Where conversions are required, keep in mind that we can provide complete Libra Data Conversion Services to limit data entry. Older systems can always be retained for historical inquiry and reporting purposes.